By: Anne Galloway for VTDigger, December 16, 2018
Retired Adj. Gen. Martha Rainville led the Vermont National Guard from 1997 to 2006 and now lives in North Carolina, where VTDigger editor Anne Galloway reached her by phone last week.
In response to a seven-part series VTDigger published about members of Guard leadership who were involved in sexual misconduct and other abuses of power, Rainville talks about how she handled similar problems during her tenure as adjutant general.
The interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Anne Galloway: Were you surprised or shocked by the allegations of Guard misconduct?
Martha Rainville: I read the articles, but I haven’t been there so I really can’t comment on the accuracy on what did or didn’t happen.
But it’s difficult as a Guard member to even read of allegations of that [nature]. Once a Green Mountain Boy always a Green Mountain Boy. We’re all very proud of what our men and women are doing.
I think when you’re dealing with organization as large as the Vermont National Guard you always have potential for all of these things to happen. It’s hard work.
But if you follow what’s happening in the military and society as a whole, these issues shouldn’t shock any of us. The allegations are serious, and I think it is a good time to relook at policies and relook at how our systems are serving the organization and the people inside the organization.
While this is difficult for the Guard, I also think this is an opportunity to encourage the governor as commander in chief and the legislators who have a critical oversight role to engage with the Guard to understand and really own their civilian oversight.